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Do different scales measure the same construct? Three Sense of coherence scales.
  1. Martin Olsson1,
  2. Jan Gassne2,
  3. Kjell Hansson2
  1. 1 The Danish National Institute of Social Research, Denmark;
  2. 2 School of social work, Sweden
  1. E-mail: mao{at}sfi.dk

Abstract

Background: Different scales claim to measure the construct “Sense of Coherence”. Results from these scales have been compared without knowing whether they measure the same construct.

Study objectives: This article compares two versions Antonovsky’s original scale (SOC-13, SOC-29), translated into Swedish, with a 3-item scale (SOC-3) that claims to measure Sense of Coherence.

Design: The data was analysed in a cross-sectional setting.

Subjects: The study consists of university students studying social work (n=395).

Result: The original scales had no distribution problems in differentiating Sense of Coherence. The SOC-3 had severe distribution problems. The two versions of the original scale Sense of Coherence scale had an acceptable reliability (Cronbach’s alpha; SOC-29 = .93, SOC-13 = .89). The SOC-3 scale did not have an acceptable reliability (Cronbach’s alpha = .39). SOC-29 and SOC-13 had a high intercorrelation (r = .96, p<.001). The SOC-3 significantly correlated with SOC-29 (r = -.72, p<.001) and SOC-13 (r = -.67, p<.001), but the magnitude was significantly lower compared to the intercorrelation between SOC-29 and SOC-13 (Fishers’s z-transformation, p<.001).

Conclusion: Because scales that claim to measure the same construct are not always interchangeable, researchers should make sure they compare results from studies that use the same scales.

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